The Newsletter 64 Summer 2013

Norodom Sihanouk and the political agenda of Cambodian music, 1955 - 1970

LinDa Saphan

The history of Cambodian popular music from 1950 on is closely linked to the social and political situation of the times. In the second half of the 20th century Cambodia went through many radical political changes in a very short period of time. Those changes are reflected in the changing nature and role of popular music. The lyrics of popular Cambodian songs written under the leadership of Norodom Sihanouk show how this charismatic patron of the arts, himself a song writer and film maker, used popular music as a propaganda tool to advance his political agenda and enhance his image as a popular leader.

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